DETROIT, MI — Over 500 current and former workers for a Detroit-area chain of Taco Bell franchises recently joined a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit filed in federal court over allegations that the defendant broke several federal wage and labor laws. The lawsuit claims that defendant Sundance Inc, which owns dozens of Taco Bell franchises across Michigan and five other states, misclassified workers and encouraged employees to work off the clock in a scheme to avoid paying these individuals for all their hours worked, including overtime hours.
The class action unpaid overtime lawsuit, filed in federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, was originally brought in 2016 by four former workers for the defendant’s Detroit-area operations and eventually certified as a class action. By certifying the claim as a class action, the court hearing the case allowed other similarly affected workers employed by the defendant to join the lawsuit and recover their own unpaid wages.
The claim cites several allegations against Sundance Inc., specifically violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which set national minimum wage standards and establishes the 40-hour workweek after which companies must pay workers time and a half for overtime. According to the lawsuit, managers at the defendant’s restaurants told some workers to clock out but remain on the job, causing them to earn less than minimum wage and did not receive overtime pay.
Furthermore, the claim alleges that the defendant intentionally misclassified managerial workers as overtime-exempt in order to avoid paying them overtime. Under the FLSA, some workers may be classified as overtime-exempt but are expected to perform duties essential to the day-to-day operations of the company. Those duties include not only supervising subordinates but hiring and firing workers, setting pay rates, and creating work schedules.
Some managers were even forced to sleep inside the restaurants after closing at 3 a.m. because they were required to be back on the job at 6 a.m. The plaintiffs argue they should be compensated for this time as well because they were not free to spend those hours at home resting.
Restaurant Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
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